Summer of 76 at Freshfield Halt.
31 August 2013 - the Bluebell's Fenchurch is in Littlehampton celebrating the 150th anniversary of the station.
Tornado reaches Sheffield Park, 10.9.2013
Yesterday Tornado took the first through train from London all the way through to Sheffield Park, the first for 55 years!
I grew up in Sussex and was always rather proud that we had the first ex-BR standard gauge preserved line in our county. I visited it a number of times, first in its classic Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes manifestation, later on the extended route to Kingscote. Next year I hope to do the new longer line.
This was always a fascinating line, seemingly running from nowhere to nowhere, and the big country station of Horsted Keynes was a gem. Back in 1968 I was on a horrible camp with the scouts near Sharpthorne and one night a group of us set out on a night hike with the intention of walking through West Hoathly tunnel - a trip destined to fail when we found the tunnel bricked up!
In the early 80s I remember reading an article in the Railway Magazine where a self-proclaimed expert said (and I paraphrase) 'I would love to see Horsted Keynes become a through station again but sadly it will never happen'! Hopefully the writer is still alive and has been feasting on those words! Not only is Horsted Keynes a through station but the Bluebell also own the Haywards Heath branch which they will begin to restore now the extension is complete, so Horsted Keynes will, at some time in the not too distant future, become a junction again too!
So I'll now make a prediction (that will no doubt rouse some of the still-extant 'it'll never happen' community again!) - not only will the Haywards Heath line open before 2025 but before then the Bluebell will look at a serious push south to link up again with the county town of East Sussex, Lewes. Then not only will they be accepting specials off the Network, but will also be accepting through specials to the seaside from London. I suspect that by 2035 the Bluebell network will be complete.